Thursday, October 12, 2017

10/12 Sturgeon, SRKW, boat noise, Samish chinook, AK sockeye, well ban, Fidalgo Academy, SuperFund

White sturgeon [Andy Wright/Sturgeon Conservation Soc.]
White Sturgeon Acipenser transmontanus
The white sturgeon is a unique freshwater fish species that plays a significant role in British Columbia's cultural and social heritage, as well as our economy. The white sturgeon belongs to the sturgeon family Acipenseridae. Not only is it the largest sturgeon species in North America, it is also the largest freshwater fish species in North America…. White Sturgeon are found in 3 major drainages on the west coast of North America including the Sacramento (in California), Columbia (in British Columbia, Idaho and Washington) and Fraser systems…. Some individuals are over 100 years old… (Environment Canada) See also: Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society

Frustrations mount over dwindling B.C. orca population at DFO symposium
Environmentalists invited to Vancouver's orca symposium left frustrated after hearing few solutions from the federal government to restore B.C.'s dwindling killer whale population. Six orcas along the B.C. South Coast have died over the last two years, reducing the total population to 77. Last month, a young killer whale was spotted malnourished along the south coast. Researchers believe it has also died. "We haven't heard anything from the government yet about what they're going to do this week, next month, in the next six months, to protect the orcas — and that's what we're waiting to hear," said Christianne Wilhelmson executive director of the Georgia Strait Alliance. More than 200 stakeholders were in attendance at the event, which runs until Thursday. Jon Hernandez reports. (CBC)

Vessel noise is reducing ability of killer whales to hunt by about 25 per cent, new research suggests
New research suggests that underwater noise from vessel traffic in the Salish Sea is reducing the ability of endangered southern resident killer whales to hunt by 20 to 25 per cent, a Port of Vancouver official said Wednesday. Orla Robinson, manager of the port’s Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation program, told a killer whale symposium in Vancouver that the research — based on “predictive models” rather than actual observations — also suggests that large ocean-going ships are responsible for about two-thirds of that diminished hunting ability and whale watching about one-third. Robinson also said that hydrophones indicate that while there is variation in vessel noises by location — ferries on scheduled routes, recreational boaters in the Gulf Islands and San Juan Islands — ocean-going ships are responsible for the greatest underwater noise in the region. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Too few returning chinook prompts closure of Samish River fishing
Due to anticipated low returns of chinook salmon, the lower Samish River was closed Tuesday to all fishing. The state Department of Fish & Wildlife closed the river to fishing from the mouth of the river at Samish Bay to the Interstate 5 bridge. The closure is needed to increase the number of returning fish available to the state’s Samish River Hatchery. (Skagit Valley Herald)

U.S. Members of Congress urge protections for Alaska salmon fishery
More than 40 U.S. House and Senate members have asked President Donald Trump to maintain protections for Alaska's Bristol Bay region, which produces about half of the world's sockeye salmon. The Democrats say a federal proposal to ease restrictions on mining in the area is egregious and illogical. The stalled Pebble Mine project received new life when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it would move to lift restrictions on development sought by the Obama administration as part of a legal settlement. (Associated Press)

Note: Doug Myers, Maryland Scientist at Chesapeake Bay Foundation and former science director at People For Puget Sound, provided the following comment on the recent blog , Little Progress Made Towards A Puget Sound "Fishable, Swimmable, Diggable," Says Partnership After 10 Years -- "In an uncharacteristic upbeat note for me, I can say from the Chesapeake that it can be done.  The investment has been and continues to be HUGE.  Efforts to educate and engage the public can never stop.  Water quality and living resources will respond once the level of effort matches the magnitude of the problem.  I'm just sorry that in my 15 years in Puget Sound, we never reached that critical mass.  ESA is clearly insufficient.  Maybe one of those non-profits that still exist could follow the Chesapeake's lead and sue EPA under the Clean Water Act.  Progress made since CBF did that in 2009 has been remarkable." Maybe there's some hope. See last month's news item: Judge OKs Lawsuit Seeking Better Protection of Puget Sound

For the fourth time, Whatcom County Council curbs building that relies on rural wells
For the fourth time, the County Council is restricting new rural developments that rely on domestic wells in Whatcom County. On Tuesday, the council voted 6-1 for the six-month extension. Council member Barbara Brenner voted “no.” This moratorium runs another six months, ending in April. The measure replaces the existing six-month restriction that ends Oct. 30. The council’s actions were in response to a state Supreme Court ruling in October 2016 that required the county to make sure there was enough water – both legally and physically – in streams for fish and those holding senior water rights. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Get educated on the environment at Fidalgo Bay Academy
Climate change ecologist, conservation biologist, sustainability strategist and environmental planner Phoebe Barnard will present the keynote address at the Fidalgo Shoreline Academy. The event is put on yearly by Friends of Skagit Beaches as a way to provide education on some of the many aspects of marine and shoreline environments in this area…. The academy, developed as a day for learning, is 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, at the Northwest Educational Services District 189 Building, 1601 R Ave. next to Seafarers Memorial Park. Cost for the event is $30 plus $10 for an optional lunch provided by The Store. Registration, at www.eventbrite.com, is due by Thursday, Oct. 19, to guarantee a lunch. Joan Pringle reports. (GoAnacortes)

EPA Vows To Speed Cleanup Of Toxic Superfund Sites Despite Funding Drop
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is vowing to speed the cleanup of toxic Superfund sites, part of a shift away from climate change and toward what he calls the “basics” of clean air and water. The EPA’s Superfund program manages the cleanup of some of the most toxic waste sites — Pruitt says the EPA will soon name a top 10 list of sites to focus on. Joe Wertz reports. (NPR)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  300 AM PDT Thu Oct 12 2017  
TODAY
 Light wind. Wind waves less than 1 ft. W swell 5 ft at  10 seconds. Rain in the morning then showers likely in the  afternoon.
TONIGHT
 W wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 6 ft  at 10 seconds. A chance of showers.

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"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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